Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse RyeImperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye

Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.90%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Stout aged 175 days in Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey barrels. The 2012 version contains a small amount of beer aged in Heaven Hill Pikesville Supreme Rye Whiskey barrels.

Added by Jmoore50 on 12-29-2009

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Reviews: 168 | Ratings: 501
Photo of NorCalYeti
3.53/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2011 vintage, bottle #954

taste- baker's chocolate, toasted malt in the finish, dark fruit, burnt toast

color- dark cola

clarity- pours clear and dark

smell- whiskey, heat, soap, green apple

body- somewhat oily on the tongue with a hop bite at the front of the mouth, mellow/smooth mouthfeel, medium-weight, woody-hoppy long finish

appearance- mocha-colored carbonation after the pour but it dissipates quickly to a faint ring around the glass, average-poor lacing

overall impression- rye and whiskey dominate the flavor profile, seems one note and out of balance

notes and comments- in some ways i think this has passed it's peak, i'm underwhelmed and for the price it should be delivering a lot better in my opinion. really didn't come together for me as an artisan barrel-aged beer. i have heard similar reviews and now i'm convinced, i would stay away from this one in the future. not a fan of rye-style beers (e.g., ruthless rye, etc.). i kept an open mind with this one but just wasn't feelin' it

beer spy- got in on the pre-order through fiftyfifty, 2011, 22oz

glassware: tulip

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Photo of spoony
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a waxed cap bomber (2012) into a globe.

A-The beer was dark, chestnut brown (nearly opaque) with a thin tan head. Some lacing on the glass.

S-The beer had a pleasing, slightly sweet aroma comprised of vanilla, bourbon (or rye whiskey to be more accurate), lightly roasted malts, and brown sugar. Just a touch of alcohol heat.

T-The taste tracked the smell closely. The main components were oaky, boozy vanilla, caramel, and milk chocolate. Very little bitterness and only a touch of heat made for a sweet, but not cloying mixture of flavors.

M-Medium to full bodied feel with lower carbonation as you would expect for the style.

O-I tend to favor sweeter stouts and this was a pretty great beer. There was a lot of character from the barrel, which layered nicely with the underlying beer flavors. One of the better imperials stouts I have had.

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Photo of rand
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure if this is the appropriate way to review, but since these are the same beer I think this will work. I just opened a 2012 version, poured into a whiskey sampler.

A: Deep dark brown in color, small carbonation forms a small, tightly-bubbled head. Tiny patches of lacing adorn the glass after a gentle swirl.


S: The nose is bourbon-forward, quickly followed by all of the enticing aromas expected from a big craft stout - chocolate, vanilla, coffee, licorice. The alcohol is pretty strong and seems to propel the big bouquet to the nose.


T: Surprisingly, the bourbon is much more subdued than you'd think from its aromas. Instead of a hot bourbon-y blast, you get a nearly seamless package of flavors that wash over your palate. The chocolate and vanilla notes are there, licorice and coffee. But there's also rich buttery anchor to the flavor profile, almost like butterscotch. And the alcohol takes a back seat - it's there, but unlike most barrel-aged imperial stouts, this doesn't deserve the "boozy" descriptor. Finishes with a trace of lingering sweetness and alcohol warmth.


M: Rich and creamy, full-bodied. Carbonation is low, but the flavors are so harmonious you don't really need a big carb scrub.


Well, what can I say? I'm glad I popped this open, I've got a bunch of these cellared but I wanted to try their most coveted, this 18 year Elijah Craig (which is a delicious bourbon, I'm more of a Scotch buy, but EC bourbon is amazing) fresh. Absolutely lives up to the hype and price, this brew is a piece of art.


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Photo of corby112
3.73/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage, bottle #2029

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a two finger, light mocha head that very slowly settles into a lasting cap/ring. Very good retention with streaks of lacing left behind.

Strong barrel presence in the aroma with lots of earthy, toasted oak, vanilla, coconut and spicy rye whiskey character countered by a slightly roasted chocolate malt backbone. The spicy rye and whiskey notes really stand out along with wood barrel, coffee bean, oatmeal and bakers chocolate. Dessert/cake like dessert character underneath the whiskey.

On the fuller end of medium bodied with a stronger whiskey barrel presence than the aroma suggests. Very strong dry oak/toothpick character along with prominent whiskey/boozy heat that overpowers the other notes a bit too much for my preference. Slightly peaty with lots of spicy rye and alcohol sweetness dominating the malt backbone. Underneath, there is some roasted malt and sweet chocolate flavor but it's overwhelmed by the wood, rye and whiskey flavors. Decent but a bit harsh and one dimensional making it tougher to drink and not as interesting as the other treatments.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottling courtesy of Secret Santa Alex, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a solid black with a huge tan head that slowly dissipates, but never leaves and sticks much lace to the sides of the glass. The aroma coming out of my glass is almost heavenly. Roasty chocolate caramel and coffee wrapped in a subtle but evident barrel treatment of vanilla, coconut, white frosting, and rye whiskey. The flavor starts off sweet and malty with lots of roast, brown sugar, and chocolate. The barrel notes rush in with vanilla, whiskey, light wood to remind us that this is no ordinary stout. Lingering roasty whiskey last long after every sip. Thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy creamy mouthfeel. This is a really good stout, I can't believe I haven't tried this before. Now to get me some more.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.72/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours a deep mahogany to black with a very small tan head, bubbly.

S: Not much at first, but some coaxing gives a nice barrel smell. Heavy malt, brown sugar, pretty standard.

T: Rye barrel, dark chocolate, heavy sweet malt. Fairly well balanced, not as full-flavoured as I would hope, but certainly enjoyable.

M: Full-bodied, rich, smooth, soft carbonation for its style.

O: A solid -bal beer, but the bottle price is certainly pushing it. Glad I've been able to try a lot of the Eclipse Line on-tap.

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Photo of Rinkor16
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened this on 12/16/12 and split with a buddy.

A: Pitch black with a half inch head that dissipated to a thin ring.

S: Roasted malt, whiskey and chocolate.

T: Chocolate, vanilla and whiskey. I had Evan Williams last night and the whiskey in this one is much more present. Not a huge stout, but the flavors are excellent.

M: Kind of thin for a stout but very creamy.

O: Definitely an excellent stout. The Evan Williams tasted almost identical. I don't know that I would be able to tell the difference. Definitely worth the $25 though.

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Photo of warnerry
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011, bottle #1778

A - Pours near black with one and a half fingers of brown head. Head has decent retention, eventually fading to a thin cap. Spotty lacing.

S - Lots of chocolate, with some roasted malt, a sweet aroma that could be some residual honey or a bit of molasses, vanilla, a bit of wood and some faint alcohol.

T - Taste is a little sweeter than the aroma would suggest, but not overpowering sweetness. Again a big chocolate presence, combining bittersweet and milk chocolate. A bit of spicy spirit undercuts the chocolate. Some nice vanilla. Roasted malt comes in near the finish. Finishes with a bit of rye whiskey. Very tasty, but a touch too sweet.

M - Medium mouthfeel, a touch on the light side for an imperial stout, but I don't mind. Definitely not thin.

O - This is a very nice Eclipse variant, but the honey sweetness is a bit too apparent. Still very enjoyable. I like that these are relatively low on the abv scale for barrel-aged imperial stouts at "only" 9.5%, but the price tag will definitely keep me from revisiting, considering other options for the style.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 11/24/12 notes. Shared this with my brother...2010 vintage, bottle #743. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a jet black color with two inches of dark tan head and low to moderate carbonation evident. This one doesn't look as thick as the others, but still looks great.

s - Smells of whiskey, roasted malts, sweet chocolate, cream, dark fruits, and oak. Nice but the whiskey is still a bit hot, and dominates the nose. Still good, but not on the level of the other versions.

t - Tastes of whiskey, alcohol, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, sweet chocolate, vanilla, oak, dark fruits. Taste has much more bitter choolate than the nose, and a lot of hot whiskey again.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Body is not as thick as the other versions, and is a little hotter than most variations.

o - Overall this is certainly a good beer, but having had 8 other variations at our Eclipse tasting last week, this is towards the bottom of the pack. It is a little bit thinner than most of the others, and a bit hotter, though still quite nice. Would like to have it again but would buy or seek out other variations first.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle pour into a glass.

Very black in nature Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co. is a black stout with a semi tannish foam that graces the top before bouncing, no stick on the side.

Smell is very bold with roasted malt, bourbon, charred oak, some rye component. Not really picking up any of the honey used. Some tootsie roll comes through with warming while the rye comes out more, a nice sniffer.

Taste is pronounced with bourbon, oak, rye and malt. Not picking up any hop tastes at this point in the bottles stage. The honey is not picked up either, but I guess that has more to do with upping the body which is a tad thin, but remains above medium bodied. Not a incredibly thick stout by any means. Carbonation fades with some time leaving for a smooth ride. Just a hit of heat.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, green wax, 2009 vintage, #1803

appearance: served in an oversized snifter, dark body with auburn highlights, minimal bubbly carbonation, lace is just a light swirl on the surface

smell: light, but nice - rich caramel, a bit of char, subtle rye whiskey notes, toasted hazelnut

taste: not an overly big stout, but the flavors are pretty solid - rich creamy caramel, vanilla, roasted malt, rye, nice barrel notes that really open up as this one warms up. The spice from the rye plays well - would love to try some other variations

mouthfeel: relatively light, velvety

overall: nice stuff, thanks lou91

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Bomber bottle with dark green wax from 2011. Chilled slightly and poured into a Kate the Great tulip glass.

Appearance: Really dark brown to black in color like a typical barrel aged stout. Pours a nice one to two finger head that holds for a bit and imparts a nice lacing.

Aroma: The bourbon tones really stand out well. A lot of the barrel comes through. Rye whiskey, chocolate and coffee are all pretty noticable. Some vanilla and brown sugar shine through as well. Not overly boozy, but lots of barrel.

Taste: Big rye whiskey, chocolate and espresso upfront. Considering that this is a barrel aged stout, it is not too heavy handed on the sweetness at all. Actually a lot of bitterness rounds out the bourbon and barrel flavors pretty well. Some light touches of oak and vanilla. Not boozy at all. Drinks really easy considering the ABV.

Mouthfeel: Definitely on the lighter side for the style, but there is some creaminess. Very nice.

Overall, a really well done and tasty treatment of a barrel aged stout. I didn't like this as much as the Four Roses I had, but the strong barrel flavors, and really nice balance of sweet and bitter stand out. Maybe hard to buy often at $30, but certainly nice and easy to drink.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I shared a bottle of this with my wife at our campsite in Vermont. Lovely.

The beer is a deep, dark brown with a half inch of dark beige head that leaves a thick sheet of lacing on the walls of the glass. The aroma brings oak, booze, roast, malt. The flavor is perhaps a tad more bready than usual, with a hint of bitterness in the back. Must be the rye malt. Tasty. Additional notes of chocolate and vanilla. Really, quite a flavorful beer, and deceptively easy to drink. Fairly light in the mouthfeel for the style. Well balanced, with lingering notes of oak and bourbon. Well done.

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Photo of beerhan
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to kecarl7 for this one

A-split three ways into sniffers. Dark black with a faint cocoa head. Relatively thin body. I must admit i did not have high hopes for this one.

S-smells like chocolate and molasses with a bourbon aroma.

T-absolutely fantastic taste, lots of honey and rye up front giving it a slightly bitter bourbon taste. I can't stop thinking about how good this was.

M-thin but chewy, low carbonation but very impressive for the light body.

O-this is a delicious beer but a bit thin. Drinkability is odd just because I expected more resistance going down.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage. Bottle #1950. Poured in to Hill Farmstead stemmed tulip.

A - Poured dark brown, settled black. Half a finger of espresso coloured head formed and reduced to a thin layer. Spotty lacing.

S - Big roast up front that immediately gives way to the barrel characteristics - sweet bourbon (not rye), vanilla and oak. Some molasses and coffee are present in the background.

T - Big roast and rye whiskey flavours up front. Oak and vanilla are also present. Semi-sweet chocolate, molasses and a touch of bitter coffee round out the palate. Very smooth. The barrel characteristics and the base beer flavours are very well integrated.

M - Medium body. Smooth. Light carbonation.

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Photo of Bung
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz, 2011 bottle 348. Fairly black, some brown around the edges. Just a miniscule off white layer. It does retain fairly well though.

Aroma, big chocolate, toasted malt, caramel and vanilla, oak barrel. What you want.

Taste, Roast malt, cocoa, vanilla, slightly spicey oak. Faintest coffee in there, but the rye barrel outlasts it.
Barrel does not overpower the relatively small big stout.

Just a tad thinner than one would like, I still found it well coating though. Rye whisky barrel adds to the taste, not the body which I was kind of expecting. Alcohol properly hidden.
This is the most expensive beer I have ever purchased at $30, I'd nearly say it was worth it, but once is enough.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap during the preview of the cambridge - 2011 batch

Pours a completely inky, viscous black color, topped by a thin layering of tanned brown head. Dissolves into a swirl of clouded film with little lacing.

Rich, full bourbon notes in the nose, although slightly raw feeling. Vanilla and oak with hints of syrup and dark chocolate. Boozy glow with sweetness.

Begins with an near-immediate kick of bourbon with some sweeter vanilla undertones. Caramel and chocolate with a brownie-like flavor. Thick malted backbone with bready tones and oats. Finishes boozy and warm with a soft sweetness.

Fuller body, nicely carbonated, silky and smooth on the tongue. A delicious barrel aged stout, although I don't think I'd pick up a $30 bottle if I had the chance to sample it on tap.

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Photo of GabrielM
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle received as an extra from generous BA GrumpyOldTroll. Thanks again! Poured into a Darkness snifter.

A - pitch black with a nice brown head on top. Body seems thin with some stickiness on the glass after a swirl.

S - rye, vanilla, oak, some honey sweetness on the back. Smells very pleasing.

T - oak, vanilla and whiskey are the dominating flavors here, though none are overbearing. An oaky finish with some sweetness on the back and finished out with a bit of heat. Very nice.

M - as the appearance indicated, this one is a bit thin. I tend to like big stouts to be chewier, but the carbonation is right on and saves this one.

O - a damn good beer and ultra-generous bottle to be extra-ed. This was my first rye barrel brew and I'm very thankful to have tried it.

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Photo of Dope
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 384 from the 2011 batch.

A: Pours black with big dense espresso colored head. Fades slowly, leaving nice lacework on the glass.

S: Rye whiskey and lots of it. Strong alcohol bite from it. Spicy rye, toffee and caramel. There is some roasted malt below it but mostly obscured. Hints of chocolate compliment the whiskey.

T: Whiskey is a little more subdued here but still prominent. Surprisingly not as harsh as I was expecting given the freshness of the brew and the length of time in barrels. Nice rye whiskey blending with char and dark chocolate from the roasted malt. Toffee, earthiness and a touch of honey in the middle. Very oaky throughout, particularly in the aftertaste with a touch of vanilla. Finishes with a vanilla and honey flourish. Has almost a peppery spiciness which I assume is from the rye. Whiskey is surprisingly well integrated but still stands as out enough.

M: Somewhat heavy, has a creamy, almost chalky sort of mouth-coating effect. Slick and sticky, can almost feel the honey in the aftertaste.

O: Excellent barrel treatment. I've never had the base beer but it seems like a simpler imperial stout. The honey does add a nice touch of complexity though. However, as mentioned, the barrel aging really elevates it. A must-have for a rye whiskey fan - one of the few well-done rye whiskey aged beers. Possibly the best I've had.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the final installment in the 2011 eclipse series for myself. have loved the ride. enjoyed from a cbs snifter.

bottle # 321

a - pried the wax and filled my glass. much like the others, the brew a watery black with just shy of a finger's worth of creamy tan head. the milky head slowly bubbled away leaving a thin skin of head and small milky bubbly islands on the surface of the brew. lacing was spotty and streaky. in the glass, the beer looked much fuller than when poured. swirling the glass brought things back to life momentarily, then the hugeness of the brew defeated the head leaving some additional lacing on the glass.

s - the barrel immediately jumps out in the nose. rye whiskey...YUM. with a great undertone of a thick chocolatey stout. i've long been a fan of whiskey aged stouts...perhaps even more-so than bourbon barrels. the rye adds a great element of rye sweetness and the wood imparts some oaky vanilla. smells dynamite!

t - the whiskey again takes center stage and imparts some rye whiskey oaky vanilla notes. the stout is definitely in the backseat, but the roasty chocolateness is definitely there. strong sweetness.

m - there is a definite whiskey tingle. the beer is rather smooth, as expected...but the whiskey bite is definitely evident.

o - overall, this is a nice beer, but not the highlight of the series by any stretch of the imagination. however, this brew is aged in rye whiskey barrels so it is definitely unique in the series as the bulk are bourbon barrel. i'm definitely a fan of whiskey aged brews and anything with rye, but the mix here was not mind blowing. very good, not great.

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Photo of aasher
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was courtesy of my beautiful fiance, who paid $34 for this Eclipse in Chicago awhile back.

This beer pours a medium bodied dark chocolate brown with a slight, slightly soapy beige one finger lacing. The nose is sweet and chocolaty and features aromas of lightly roasted coffee and honey with a touch of whiskey. It is very rich. The flavors follow suit. There are loads of sweet chocolate, honey, light roast, and some alcohol (and I don't mean the whiskey). If anything, the whiskey is slightly present in the aftertaste. It drinks medium in body with plenty of residual sugar. It's sweeter than I imagined. I know Eclipse is an "imperial stout brewed with honey" but this is the first version that I've noticed any honey. Overall this was a solid stout, but a little too light in body for my liking and a little sweet. For the price, it isn't worth it but its a nice beer overall.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 1645, 2011

A: Pours a dark chestnut brown that light can shine through only at the edges.

S: Aroma of bittersweet bakers chocolate, light bourbon and oak directly out of the fridge and of course some sweet malt and a bit of booze.

T: Starts off with a bit of a booze kick, closely followed by American oak and rye whiskey. Dark bakers chocolate, cocoa and bitter chocolate malts mixing smoothly together. I can really enjoy all of these flavors and it is very easy to drink or sip. Sweet and roasty mixing with the dark roast malts to even this out / balance the flavors.

M: Medium mouthfeel with a light carbonation. It is not watery, but could be slightly thicker. In any event, it is very drinkable in its current viscosity.

O: This is very good, only minor fault that I can detect is a very slight ashy presence right at the very end. This of course would probably be stronger if not aged in barrels that previously had Rye Whiskey in them.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. Thanks to Matt for sharing!

(A)- Pours a pitch black color. Some tan froth.

(S)- A nice rich aroma. Nice subtle oak and bourbon bits with just a kiss of spice, raisin, and molasses.

(T)- Similar to the smell. A nice profile of oaky bourbon, raisin, caramel, and cocoa.

(M)- A good carbonation level. A nice balance too albiet, a touch thinner, but nice bourbon characters.

(D)- Another great variance to the eclipse barrel line. A bit more bourbon forward, but with flavors to back it up.

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Photo of mattsander
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage opened 04/30/12

A: Jet black with a crema-like wisp of brown head.

S: Rye whiskey, cocoa, vanilla, heaps of oak barrel, dark fruits. Compared to fresh Eclipse, the wood character is mellow and more integrated and the booze is restrained.

T: Decadent chocolate, vanilla frosting, sweet rounded whiskey character all wrapped in mellow oak. Wonderful, though I do prefer fresher Eclipse.

M: Again the brewer's use of Honey is genuis here. For such a high gravity beer it is remarkably slick and drinkable.

O: Still probably my favorite stout in the world. Very interesting to taste an older bottle and compare the differences a year makes.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: dark brown with some light passage, dense tan head, great retention

S: heavy rue whiskey, vanilla, caraway zestiness, chocolate, light hops on finish

T: smooth whiskey shines through nicely, vanilla, cream, chocolate, great balance

Mf: thicker base stout which holds up nicely to the barrels, mellow carbonation

O: one of the tastier variants I have had, smooth, full flavor

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 501 ratings.
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